Speakers

Talks that show you how to get to the best out of yourself, your team and the tools you work with.

Things You Wish You Shared with Your Team Before They Agreed on That Deadline

Dominika Rogala - Embedded Software Engineering Manager at Vector Technologies

Estimating time is like packing for a long holiday. No matter how hard you try, you always feel like you forgot something important.

We all know how hard it is to estimate time and amount of work needed to complete a project. We’ve all been there - our teams missed deadlines, and not because they didn’t work hard enough.

With experience we get better in estimating, but most often we need to rely on our team to do that. Let’s explore some factors that may not be obvious to developers. We’ll talk about how much we really work during a month, why research takes more than anyone expects and how Chinese New Year may destroy your plans.

About Dominika

Dominika is IoT Program Manager at Vector Technologies, with experience leading product teams. Passionate about agile hardware management. Electronics engineer, IoT geek, hitchhiker.

The History of Devops

Tom Geraghty - Previous Head of UK Cloud Platform Ops for Experian

From the modern manufacturing revolution, to today's tech world of continuous delivery, automation and cloud technology, we take a look at where we came from, how we got here and what it means to "do" DevOps.

About Tom

Tom is currently a freelance tech and DevOps consultant based out of Andalusia in Spain, where the wifi isn't great, but the weather is superb.

He has spent over 15 years working in tech, heading up tech operations in various sectors from sports and live music stadiums to tech startups and finance enterprises. He now specialises in digital strategy, DevOps and cloud technology.

Team Building, Collaboration, and Fostering Success: Learning from the Wu-Tang Clan

Matt Northam - Lead Front-End Developer at Redweb, Dad of Two at Home

Building a successful, happy team is a task that all tech leads strive for; it's an endeavour that can take time and effort to implement and then continuous work to maintain. There are plenty of amazing teams out there to take inspiration from but for me, the archetype will always be hip-hop group, the Wu-Tang Clan and their de facto lead: RZA.

Still active after nearly 30 years, this team comprises of a range of diverse personalities with varying skills who were brought together to fulfil a collective vision. In their time, they have experienced great successes, while also weathering numerous trials and tribulations.

This presentation will draw upon the Wu-Tang saga to explore what it takes to assemble a team that has impact and longevity. From recruitment to objective setting, conflict resolution to mentoring, the Wu has it all.

About Matt

Matt is a lead front-end developer at Redweb, one of the UK’s largest independent agencies. Previously, he's worked in higher education – teaching on a number of degree courses, as well as providing digital support to research and student recruitment. Before that, Matt cut his teeth making hip-hop fan sites in the late 1990's, and 20 years on is still keen to extoll the virtues of combining rap with web development. His generated Wu-Tang name is '*Gentlemen Leader*', which isn't exactly the best rap pseudonym ever, but could be a lot worse.

Unpredictably Rational

Thor Mitchell - Former Chief Product Officer at Crowdcube
Users have a tendency to surprise you by using your product in ways that you did not expect, but that turn out to be entirely understandable in retrospect. This presentation will review a set of concrete examples, drawn from 12 years working on products at Google and Crowdcube, and the techniques they suggest to avoid being unpleasantly surprised by your user’s rational behaviour.
About Thor

Thor has been moving and shaking in the tech world since he got a summer job at a small Bournemouth ISP in 1995. Since then he has gained over 20 years experience in Product Management and Engineering roles at Sun Microsystems, Google, and latterly Crowdcube. Thor is currently taking a well deserved break and we're delighted to welcome him to come and speak with us.

A Team in Ten Minutes

Steve Williams - Founder at Expanding Box Consultants
A challenge often faced by teams is the unexpected but urgent interrupt that requires significant effort and expertise to address, but legitimately needs to happen immediately. No matter how agile we are I'm willing to bet every team/project/organisation experiences these interrupts - the 'Black Swan' events - on a surprisingly regular basis. Commonly, though, organisations don't plan for these interrupts. Actually, it's more revealing to suggest organisations tacitly plan for them NOT to happen by ignoring that they regularly DO happen. This leaves us vulnerable. We can't predict what the interruption will be, so we can't put in place the right resources to deal with it and a panic team pulled together at a moment's notice needs time to form before it can be effective - time we don't have. See more...

A challenge often faced by teams is the unexpected but urgent interrupt that requires significant effort and expertise to address, but legitimately needs to happen immediately. No matter how agile we are I'm willing to bet every team/project/organisation experiences these interrupts - the 'Black Swan' events - on a surprisingly regular basis. Commonly, though, organisations don't plan for these interrupts. Actually, it's more revealing to suggest organisations tacitly plan for them NOT to happen by ignoring that they regularly DO happen. This leaves us vulnerable. We can't predict what the interruption will be, so we can't put in place the right resources to deal with it and a panic team pulled together at a moment's notice needs time to form before it can be effective - time we don't have.

So are there any organisations out there that thrive on reacting effectively to urgent interruptions? Yes there is. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), is a charity that provides reactive Search and Rescue (SAR) response around the coast of the UK and Ireland. They respond to emergencies, launching state-of-the-art boats, with volunteer crews, into complex and evolving situations within minutes. So how do they manage to create a team from a pool of volunteers in that timeframe? How do they compress Tuckman's lifecycle into minutes? I've been a crewman on lifeboats for nearly twenty years and through this talk will explore the culture of the crews and what we can learn from them and bring into the workplace.

About Steve

Steve Williams’ belief in agile thinking and passion for lean cultures began with exposure to Extreme Programming in the late ‘90s. Before founding Expanding Box Consultants, Steve worked in several multi-national organisations managing software development teams, helping build agile capability at scale. Passionate about the environments in which great software is developed, Steve specialises in helping organisations adopt new techniques and tools.

Steve also has nearly 20 years of maritime Search & Rescue experience and finds there is a surprising commonality of team dynamics in both office and offshore environments. This experience brings many unique insights that Steve uses to help identify and embed change at all levels within organisations.

Dying for a Leak

Dan Thomas - Founder at Moov2
In this talk, we'll share the highs, lows, learnings and down right weirdness of managing web properties for an extremely popular video game with an enthusiastic (and extremely technical) fan base.

No Man's Sky is one of the most talked about video game releases in the past few years. When news of updates and changes to the game are revealed, fans reach fever pitch. This can prove "interesting" for us as guardians of the official website and community tools, with some useful lessons in managing scale and keeping things behind closed doors for down to the minute announcement schedules.

About DanT

Dan Thomas does lots of "stuff", mostly revolving around running Moov2, a south coast digital agency specialising in services for the video games industry and organising community events in tech and games. Moov2 have been around for 15 years and as everyone knows, digital years are a bit like dog years, so that's *ages*. With a roster of familiar brands on their portfolio including Microsoft, Barclays, Hasbro and high profile games companies such as Supermassive Games, Hello Games, Microsoft Studios and Sony, it's fair to say they've "seen some things".

When not delegating all the difficult stuff to his long-suffering team, he can be found sharing ill-considered thoughts on Twitter (@dannyt) or on occasion, writing longer-form, equally ill-considered ramblings on his personal blog.

Stuart Langridge
Stuart on Twitter

The UX of Text

Stuart Langridge - Owner at Kryogenix Consulting, host of Bad Voltage podcast

A talk about bots, and how they shouldn’t pretend to be humans. About how user experience is more than just user interface. About language, and how a word can be worth a thousand pictures. About le mot juste. About where we go next.

The next wave of apps will be text. Amazon Alexa. Facebook Messenger. Telegram and WhatsApp chatbots, Twitter and Mastodon replies. The lion’s share of how a new app experience is perceived has always been intimately tied up with the visual design, even if maybe it shouldn’t always have been… but now, it’s all text. We don’t need artists for this; we need poets. Authors. Wordsmiths. Swap your Wacom for a fountain pen. Language is back.

About Stuart

Stuart is a consultant CTO and software architect to startups and small firms on strategy, custom development, and how to best work with the dev team. Code and writings are to be found at kryogenix.org and @sil on Twitter; Stuart himself is mostly to be found hiding inside away from the terrible hot sunlight.

The Outrage Economy

Dan Harvey - Head of Product Design & Brand at The Dots

Social media profits come from advertising revenue. As a result, companies like Twitter and Facebook care most about monthly active users. Sadly people spend more time on these services when they see content that angers them. What are alternative business models? How can we create platforms that benefit our digital well-being?

About DanH

Daniel Harvey is Head of Product Design & Brand at The Dots, “The Linkedin for Creatives.” He writes and speaks about design and tech at Fast Company, The Drum, SXSW, IxDA, and many others. He is a passionate advocate for diversity in the creative industries and sits on the board for Creative Equals.

The 5 Pillars of Collaborative Product Ownership

John Le Drew - Founder and Principal Consultant at Wise Noodles

While business knowledge and domain expertise is useful and essential, is this only achievable with a 'single wringable neck'? Can a team be aligned without having a ‘one throat to choke’? What would happen if the whole team could be encouraged to take ownership of product direction? Chaos? The Apocalypse? Or maybe (just possibly) success?

In this session we face up to some uncomfortable realities about many present approaches and attitudes to product ownership. Then, journey into the past to discover the top secret superpower that all teams working towards agility have, but often forget.

During the session we will question assumptions and slay some sacred cows*. Prepare to have your attitude to product ownership transformed, this job might never be the same again.

*No actual cows were/will be harmed in the production/presentation of this session.

About John

John has spent most of the last 2 decades working in the software industry, with a focus on web technologies. After 10 years as a software engineer John moved into consultancy where he quickly learned the value of team dynamics and how most technical challenges are projecting underlying issues with collaboration. So his focus shifted, while still being very involved technically, his first focus is on facilitating a safe, creative, collaborative environment.